A 2014 US study showed number of US non-readers almost tripled since 1978, and about 25% of US adults had not read a book that year – in any format!!
So – if you are someone who has gotten out of the habit, or just plainly hates it but doesn’t want to be part of the 25% – what do you do?
First off, figure out why do you not like to read?
- easily distracted?
- Haven’t found a genre you like?
- you don’t read well (e.g. too slowly)?
- Scarred at a young age by your teachers?
- no time/too busy?
- What connection do you need to turn you (back) onto reading?
Well – help is at hand!
1 – Time for you!
Remember you do not have to force yourself. If you force it, you will resent it. This is you making time for you, at your own pace. While diving straight in is great, you are most likely to get best results by mixing it gradually into your spare time, amongst your other pastimes.
2 – This Book is for You!
Choose a genre (historical fiction, romance, fantasy, biographies, whatever [that one isn’t actually a category!], to get a flavour of what you might like. I’d suggest start with a “thin” book i.e. not War and Peace, as motivationally-speaking these are easier to complete. Not less absorbing, mind you, just easier when getting back into the saddle!
This book’s for you, so doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks – it’s not a competition! Enjoyment of the read is the key, and what works for you is what’s important!
3 – Location, Location Location!
Find a spot where you won’t be disturbed (as much!), and where you can relax. Reading is mostly a personal experience, so get yourself into a bookshop or coffee shop (most bookshops have a coffee outlet, but not usually the reverse, unfortunately), put away the phone etc and lose yourself in the story. Reading in a public park on a sunny day – ah those lazy afternoons!
Your public library should be programmed into your sat-nav! While you may not be able to bring in your coffee, it is such a resource with amazingly knowledgable and helpful staff – there’s a world at your fingertips, and you have expert guides to show you the way!
4 – Choose Your Time
If it doesn’t feel forced, then choose a time that is most suitable. Your morning commute, just before bedtime, whenever feels best. Do try to make it a regular time though, as repetition becomes a habit, which then becomes an integral part of your life.
4 – MultiMedia Me!
Don’t forget the audiobooks, Kindles, podcasts, etc, which are brilliant for getting reading time when multi-tasking (e.g. in the gym, air travel [unless you’re the pilot!], etc. While these have drawbacks, it is a good way of kick-starting the reading bug.
5 – Your Responsibility:
The average European spends 230 minutes a DAY watching TV. 4 hours. I wouldn’t judge anyone’s taste, but 4 hours of watching political news would be too much for anyone!
The time is there – we just need to be better at allocating it. The benefits of reading are well-known (increased vocabulary, better information retention, even potentially less risk of diseases such as Alzheimers and dementia) – so the argument of no time holds no water.
Turn off the TV, pick up a book!
If you are out and about, a paperback or e-reader is great to be able to have on hand e.g. if the person you are meeting is running late, etc. Even a 10 minute read can refresh you!
I would love to hear your thoughts. Why don’t you read? What’s stopping you?